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Mental block in attitude towards cardio.....what's the correct approach?

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  • Mental block in attitude towards cardio.....what's the correct approach?

    For weight lifting, I've seen from results that less is more. I'm only in the gym for 2 sessions a weak, each 30-40 minutes. I'm happy with bodybuilding work.

    Now for cardio, primal guidelines are:

    1 day of sprints a week
    then the rest should be low-intensity cardio?

    Here's the thing though. With the gym, one can FEEL the benefit right away, even if minimal. Psychologically, it's hard to imagine that lots of walking can be doing any good. If I go on a 30 minute run, I feel it. To have the same effect from walking, or low intensity wouldn't one have to have to walk for significantly more hours in a week to equal the benefit to the body of 3-4 days of running for 30 minutes or being on a treadmill/stationary bike for 30 minutes?

    Another thing with weight lifting and high-intensity running/treadmill--those seem to work ok cumulatively. But does low intensity like cardio have any effect cumulatively if done in many small chunks? 20 mins here....15 mins there....seems like one would have to go on a two hour walk.

  • #2
    You are confusing soreness with benefits. The whole point of walking is that it doesn't stress the body like running- no impact, no lactic acid buildup, no soreness, no muscular glycogen depletion, etc. You aren't supposed to stress your body every single day. Everything that you get from moderate distance/pace and more can be had from sprinting once or maybe twice a week. That's why Tabata is so famous.

    For your second question, see Mark's post today on walking 10000 steps in a day.

    And stay off the treadmill. The biomechanics of it are different. There's no push-off, and the handles/rails tend to interfere with what should be a natural arm swing.

    Here's some links:
    A Case Against Cardio (from a former mileage king) | Mark's Daily Apple
    The Health Benefits of Moderate Exercise | Mark's Daily Apple
    The Definitive Guide to Walking | Mark's Daily Apple


    • #3
      There is a lot of misconception regarding "cardio" training. To stimulate the cardio vascular system, muscular work must be done. The greater the muscular work, the more the cardio system is stressed. Follow this logic and weight training done intensely stimulates the cardio system far better than some mamby pamby treadmill stroll. Sprint type intervals are so effective at this too because far more muscular work is being done. To sprint all out requires recruitment of all the fiber types in your legs, thus stressing the cardio system far more than a slower steady state protocol ever could. Which leaves you more gassed, a series of all out sprints or a jog? If done correctly its not even close. The sprints leave you sucking wind for several minutes afterwards. Again, a far better "cardio" workout! Steady state work is actually aerobic training. Aerobic training is lower intensity work that can be carried out for far longer than anaerobic training which is much higher intensity work and can only be carried out for very short duration.

      So its really aerobic work and anaerobic work. Steady state aerobic work is useful in building endurance for various sports for example. This however isn't crucial to our health and fitness. Nobody drops dead because their heart lacks endurance. They drop dead because their heart can't handle a very immediate stressful situation. So what is important is to train the heart to be ready and able to handle a whole lot in a hurry. This is where high intensity type training comes in and is far superior. Steady state work over time also causes more wear and tear and that is not health promoting, it is just the opposite.

      My advice is to keep up with the weight training and sprint once a week. You will be in great metabolic/cardio condition with this alone. Walking is good in many ways. I believe that people who walk are people that will keep walking if that makes sense. Its a long term mobility thing. If you feel hell bent on running or just like to run then do it. Just know that its not necessary in order to be in great shape and can if taken too far be a negative for sure.